Alternative take on the ‘12 Days of Christmas’

I have a love/hate relationship with the popular Christmas song, "12 Days of Christmas." I admit it is mostly a hate relationship. However, there were many things about the song that I didn't know.

Did you know, for example, "true love" refers to God and "eight maids a-milking" refer to the eight beatitudes? The lyrics are stuffed with religious symbolism.

Also, it is not 12 days before Christmas, but 12 days after. December 25 is the first day of Christmas and Jan. 6, Epiphany, is the 12th. Maybe you knew that, but it was a revelation to me.

Anyway, I have shamelessly borrowed from the "real" lyrics and changed it into a song about some of the wonderful projects supported by The United Methodist Church, including projects funded by The Advance. While the song only allows for 12 examples, the church has many, many other opportunities for giving.

Try singing this to the original tune. It might not work out as musically harmonious, but I like it better.

"12 Days of Christmas Giving"

On the first day of Christmas,
My true love sent Haiti
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the second day of Christmas,
My true love offered income
By giving two chicks a-breeding
And a heifer for a hungry family.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love helped quench thirst
With clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love fueled knowledge
With kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love scrubbed and scrubbed
With big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love opened doors
With scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
My true love encouraged folks
To go a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love supported
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love cast a line
For fishing on the ocean,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping ,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the 10th day of Christmas,
My true love hurried aid
To community hospitals,
Cast a line for fishing,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping ,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the 11th day of Christmas,
My true love built shelter
With Habitat for Humanity,
Community health care,
Cast a line for fishing,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the 12th day of Christmas,
My true love saved some lives
By imagining no malaria,
Habitat for Humanity,
Community health care,
Cast a line for fishing,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

*Gilbert is a multimedia writer for United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]

First published Dec. 10, 2010.


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Local Church
A single lit candle in a wreath signifies the first week of Advent. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, United Methodist churches are thinking creatively for the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Photo of Glendale United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., by Steven Kyle Adair, United Methodist Communications.

Salvaging Christmas amid coronavirus concerns

Pastors already dealing with a stressful 2020 now must lead United Methodists through the seasons of Advent and Christmas as the coronavirus pandemic rages.
Mission and Ministry
What once was the First United Methodist Church in North Adams, Mass., is now the Berkshire Art Museum. The Rev. Thomas Frank writes about the transition in his new book “Historic Houses of Worship in Peril.” Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Art Museum.

A manifesto for saving old church buildings

The Rev. Thomas Frank, United Methodist polity expert, is the author of the new book “Historic Houses of Worship in Peril.”
Local Church
The Rev. James Paris leads a service of prayer for the 2020 U.S. presidential election at New Life United Methodist Church in Ripley, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

On US Election Day, United Methodists seek God

Across the U.S., United Methodist churches sought to heal political divisions and keep people focused on God.